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About The IGF is presented by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, which runs the Independent Games Festival & Summit every year at Game Developers Conference. The company (producer of the Game Developers Conference series, and Game Developer magazine) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers.

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Archive For March, 2009

Polytron Release Second Fez Trailer

March 25, 2009 1:01 PM | Michael Rose

And it's pretty incredible. I already had high expectations for Fez, but the seemingly impossible has happened and now I can't wait even more. Give it a watch.

GDC: Indie Games Stuff @ GDC: The MegaLinkDump

March 25, 2009 5:07 AM | Simon Carless

So, as per usual, I'm typing up things when I should be going to GDC parties, but don't worry, the horribly indie shindig in question runs til 1.30am, and I just wanted to make sure all those folks who didn't get to go to GDC could check out the coverage.

Please post in comments if you've found more write-ups of sessions, too, but here's what a quick scan produced - thanks to everyone who wrote up the IGS panels this year.

We're hoping to make a few (everything was video + slides recorded this year!) available for free on the new GDC Vault service - maybe the 2D Boy day 1 keynote and the plain insane Indie Game Maker's Rant? Maybe take a few days, though!

Anyhow, here's the marvellous coverage, please to have fun reading:

- Destructoid: GDC 09: The Indie Advantage?; GDC 09: Beyond Single Player; GDC 09: Making Web Games: The Indie Experience; GDC 09: The Indie Game Maker Rant; GDC 09: Crayon Physics Deluxe postmortem; GDC 09: The Four-Hour Game Design; GDC 09: Everything you wanted to know about going indie....

- TIGSource: IGS '09: The Four-Hour Game Design (Cactus); IGS '09: The Indie Game Maker Rant.

- GameSpot: The Art Of Promoting Indie; GDC 2009: Ranting, indie style; GDC 2009: The Art of Promoting Indie; GDC 2009: EA Play head explains indie advantage.

- Joystiq: GDC09: IGF Mobile Award winners announced; GDC09: IGF showcases 'the next great mobile game' concepts.

Offworld: Indie Games Summit: 2D Boy/Polytron's top 10 ways to market your indie game.

IGN: GDC 09: Making LOVE in Your Bedroom.

RANDOM BONUS: 'Host Master and the Conquest of Humor' (Tim Schafer hasn't finished his Choice Awards script yet, but he HAS finished an awesome Flash game about, uhh, not having finished his Choice Awards script. Ohdear.)

Freeware Game Pick: Imagination Reality Paradise

March 24, 2009 11:04 PM | Tim W.

Possibly one of the strangest acid trips you will play this year, kanoguti's I.R.P. is an adventure game where players would have to figure out the solution to the puzzle found in each room, simply by using the right combination of buttons on their keyboard. Every playthrough yields a different set of random sequences, so by replaying the game you might find some new areas that were never discovered in previous attempts.

Please note that the game has a couple of scenes with flashing images which may cause photosensitive epilectic seizures. You can also press the Alt and F4 key to quit at any time. (direct download link)

Browser Game Pick: Foreign Creature (Arief Raditya)

March 24, 2009 9:24 PM | Michael Rose


Foreign Creature is a rather disturbing point and click adventure revolving around a small creature with abnormal powers and quite a lot of blood and guts. The aim is to help the little critter escape his science lab cage and get away from the complex completely unseen.

It's simple but beautifully presented, and extremely (and needlessly) gory. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone under 16, but of course I'm not going to say that, as it will just make you young 'uns want to play it more, am I right?

Oops. Ah well, give it a shot over at Newgrounds.

Castle Crashers Takes Xbox LIVE Game of the Year

March 24, 2009 5:37 PM | Michael Rose


The votes are in and The Behemoth's Castle Crashers has taken Game of the Year 2008 in the Xbox LIVE Arcade Awards.

The multiplayer smash-em-up also took home Best Co-op Mode and Best Original Game, leaving the highly recommended Braid to pick up a single award for Best Innovation.

The full list of winners is below.

2008 Game of the Year
Castle Crashers®

Best Co-op Mode
Castle Crashers

Best Family Game
A Kingdom for Keflings

Best Graphics
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix

Best Innovation

Best Original Game
Castle Crashers

Best Remake
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix

Best Single-Player Game
Portal™: Still Alive

Best Versus Mode
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix

Freeware Game Pick: Dead Like Ants (C.E.J. Pacian)

March 24, 2009 3:19 PM | Tim W.

Dead Like Ants is another well-written IF adventure game created by Pacian, developer of Gun Mute and Snowblind Aces. In it, you play a young daughter who had been requested by the queen to carry out a special task for her majesty.

The game is rather short with only a handful of locations to explore and even less rooms containing actual puzzles, although some might point out that navigating the maze-like tree is a puzzle in itself. You can type EXITS into the parser to reveal all available passageways inside the room you are currently occupying, while keying in HINT allows you to access a flexible hints system that only reveals solutions to puzzles you have discovered during your journey. It shouldn't take more than half an hour to complete the entire adventure, but as with most of Pacian's releases there are a couple of amusing actions that you could try out by returning to the game after finishing the main quest for the first time.

Dead Like Ants is also playable on Linux and OS X, although you will need the right TADS interpreter for this purpose.

GDC: Cactus on The Four-Hour Game Design

March 24, 2009 12:43 PM | Tim W.

Possibly one of the more interesting talks (or at the very least, weirdest) at GDC was by Jonatan Söderström about making games in four hours or less, which is quite likely a reference to The Poppenkast's latest game development competition that had just recently ended.

At the end of the lecture, cactus had shown a couple of games which he likes but did not make. Here is a list of the games presented which can be downloaded or played online:

String Deluxe, by Kvalsternacka (download)
Up a Lazy Ocean, by David Scatliffe
I Wish I Were the Moon, by Daniel Benmergui
I Was in the War, by Bisse (download, right-click to save)
Radian, by Jabberwock
Psycho, by Jan Willem Nijman

GDC 09: The Four-Hour Game Design (Destructoid)

All photos taken during the talk courtesy of Alex May and Dan Tabar.

GDC: Crayon Physics Creator Purho Prototypes Hard

March 24, 2009 12:13 PM | Tim W.

In a humorous speech on the Monday of the Independent Games Summit, Kloonigames' Petri Purho talked about what he learned in creating IGF 2008 Grand Prize Winner Crayon Physics Deluxe, stressing the importance of rapid prototyping in its genesis.

As he noted in the speech, "doing prototypes really worked out well for me," and it also gave him a hint towards which of his seven-day-created Kloonigames freeware games would break out, based on download counts.

He averaged 2,000-3,000 downloads of his previous prototypes, until the Crayon Physics prototype did around 25,000 free downloads in one month, and increased again to 250,000 when his YouTube demonstration of the game became incredibly popular.

Prototypes were great, Purho said, because you can "get the bad game ideas out of your system," and also pointed out that keeping to strict monthly prototypes helped him explore ideas that might not work, but he can also sometimes tell partway through that the game isn't up to snuff.

As to how the game was conceived, most other physics games like Armadillo Run are engineering-like, and have only one or two solutions -- on the other end of the scale are sandbox-like titles like Line Rider. Purho was looking to split the difference and get both sandbox-style and goal-centric elements into his game.

He explained the concept behind Crayon Physics Deluxe: "The game is not about finding the right solution to the puzzle, it's about finding a creative one." But, he asked, how do you detect when players are being creative?

In addition, Purho noted, a lot of people are lazy and will go for the easiest solution possible. In the end, for many of the core gamers who had interest in Crayon Physics Deluxe, the game was somewhat too easy -- something Petri didn't expect because his idea of the target market for the game was not that clear, he thought.

One of the biggest issues Crayon Physics had was the number of clones it created online, and Purho actually said at one point that an iPhone game called Touch Physics offered him money as a tribute, but he felt uneasy about accepting it. Overall, the clones made him initially angry, but his game sold well despite them.

The end result was an influential and playable title, and Purho said over 80,000 people signed up via email alone to find out when Crayon Physics Deluxe was going to be released, and his method of allowing pre-orders helped to get people to sign up before the game actually debuted.

GDC: 2D Boy's Carmel On The Goo Route To Indie Success

March 24, 2009 11:59 AM | Tim W.

In a keynote at the Independent Games Summit on the Monday of Game Developers Conference, 2D Boy co-founder and World Of Goo co-creator Ron Carmel presented a forthright talk about how to succeed as an independent developer.

One of Carmel's key points for success? "What you need to remember is that you're not starting a company, you're making a game."

Along the way, he revealed a lot of specifics, including exactly how much money his two-man company spent making the WiiWare and PC hit. He revealed that they spent $4,000 on hardware, $1,000 on software, and $5,000 on QA, plus $5,000 for localization and $5,000 for legal fees.

Including living expenses of $96,000, it cost $116,000 for the two years they spent making the game. Even with $60,000 in pre-orders for the PC version of World Of Goo, the 2D Boy duo were each $28,000 out of pocket when the game launched.

Basically, Carmel explained, it's as simple as this - you need to "make a good game" and have something unique about it. But as an astute businessperson, he launched into some very helpful sales specifics. He revealed, via a chart, that 25 percent of all World Of Goo sales in 2008 came from 2D Boy's website, and Steam was a smaller slice.

Retail was only responsible for between 2 and 3 percent of their revenues, and WiiWare was a majority, around 55-60 percent -- though he did note that Steam was a much larger percentage in 2009. Interestingly, on thus far, 65 percent of paid PC downloads were for Windows, 25 percent for Mac, and 10 percent for Linux.

GDC: Independent Games & Sales: Stats 101 - The Slides

March 24, 2009 4:08 AM | Simon Carless

So, one of the main things that I was doing today (the Monday of Game Developers Conference) was presenting a 30-minute Indie Games Summit presentation called 'Independent Games & Sales: Stats 101'.

Since I founded the Independent Games Summit as a GDC Summit a couple of years back, it's been clear that getting good sales data (or at least decent estimates) on indie game prospects on various platforms is really important for creators. And here's the talk description:

"So sure, everyone wants to make a living from independent games. But how much money can you actually make out of PC web, casual, and downloadable indie titles, iPhone games, XBLA, WiiWare, and PlayStation Network titles, to name but a few? What's the royalty and revenue split, how well have some of the highest-profile IGF award winners done, and how well might the average indie do?

IGF Chairman and Gamasutra/Game Developer magazine publisher Simon Carless collates from his sources to examine the cold, hard financial realities of sustaining yourself by making an indie title in today's game market."

This talk, honestly, was a bit overstuffed for a 30-minute lecture, but there was so much important information I wanted to include, and I do believe this is the first time anyone has tried to collate all public sales information and estimate sales ranges from that:

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